The Many Benefits Of Taking Cold Showers

It may sound like the last thing you want to do, but The Art of Manliness explains why you should grab your shower cap, bite your lip, and jump into an ice-cold shower.

People have been subjecting their bodies to extremely cold water for thousands of years, but is it really worth the torture? Among some of the possible upsides such as helping with depression, increasing testosterone in men, and developing emotional resiliency, there are several more benefits to be had:

  • Improve circulation: Your heart has to get pumping to try and warm you up, and that helps increase cardiovascular health.
  • Improve sleep: Taking a cold shower one hour before bed may help your body trigger sleep signals and give you a deeper sleep.
  • Keep skin and hair healthy: Cold water can add shine to your hair and close up your pores.
  • Speed up workout recovery: Cold exposure decreases inflammation and helps remove toxins like lactic acid because blood flow increases as your body warms up. The same reason athletes take ice baths.
  • Give an energy boost: Cold water will give your body a jolt of energy like nothing else. If you don't believe it, give it a try.

I personally think hot showers are one of the best things in the whole wide world, but I'm certainly considering adding cold showers into my regiment. If you have what it takes to brave the cold, hop in and reap the benefits.

The Benefits of Cold Showers [The Art of Manliness]


Comments

    I find it weird that a cold shower both trigger sleep signals and give you an energy boost. very contradictory

    There are very few actual scientific studies on the benefits of cold showers, also known as "cold plunges" or CWI (Cold Water Immersion). There is claimed to be a single study about testosterone benefits that is not available online (1993 by the Thrombosis Research Institute in England). OTOH, there is also a study showing the opposite, linked below. There is better evidence with some studies that show an increase in some measure of immune cells. However, the whole "cold showers have umpteen benefits" seems just a lot of conjecture and very little evidence.

    http://ownyourhealth.wordpress.com/2008/04/16/cold-showers-whats-the-evidence/
    Immune system cell counts improved.
    Improved circulation and function in the legs in some patients

    Possible "improved antioxidative adaptation"
    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10396606
    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23514015

    Benefits for tennis players of CWI
    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23799825

    http://europepmc.org/abstract/MED/1890772 Cold Water Showers REDUCE testosterone, at least in the short-term.

    http://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/health-and-families/health-news/cold-showers-are-good-for-you--official-738026.html
    "Year-round swimmers in Berlin have half as many chest infections as other people, say doctors from the Herzog-Julius Hospital in Bad Harzburg and the Medical School at Humboldt University in Berlin."

    And some animal studies:
    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10386435
    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/8375569

    Last edited 29/07/14 2:09 pm

    All these benefits can also be claimed of a Tequila suicide.

    At least with a Tequila suicide, you eventually get drunk. (Not just cold and wet)

    Also proven heart-attack causation.
    Are Lifehacker quite sure they want to advocate this?

    Plus save on heating costs :)

    Whilst I basically live my life in the cold (like swimming in an outside unheated pool in 10 degree weather) I'm rather quite sceptical of the benefits of cold exposure. The scales can attest to that, at least from the weight loss side of things.

    Granted there's the possibility that I've acclimatised to the cold and therefore have less of a response to colder temperatures. I barely even shiver any more with cold showers.

    There may be some preconditions to cold showers being beneficial. I can think of some people that complain that they have trouble keeping warm. I am not sure that making them colder is the way to go.

    What's a cold shower? I live in the tropics, cold water is never cold :-/

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